Arson suspected in West Riverside house fire


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula County Sheriff's Department believes arson is to blame for a fire that destroyed a home outside Missoula Sunday morning.

It happened on 7780 West Riverside Drive, near Bonner, which is east of Missoula.

They were called to the scene just after 7 a.m. and found heavy flames and smoke pouring from a single story home.

It took 18 firefighters, 40 minutes to knock down the blaze.

NBC Montana was told that nobody was living in the house but someone was in the process of moving in.

We talked with a friend of the resident who moved out of the house about a month ago and with the next door neighbor, who saw the smoke and called 911.

"We were just surprised that something would happen this soon. I mean, after we cleaned out the house, we couldn't see what would cause a fire. That's what we were concerned about," said a friend of the resident who moved out from the house a month ago.

"It was pretty surprising. I mean, I ain't never been involved in nothin' like that before. It was a shock," said next door neighbor Carla.

There are no estimated damage costs yet on the house but the fire department says the home is a total loss with extensive damage to the interior.

The arson case is still under investigation. The Sheriff's Department asks anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at (406) 721-4444.

Callers with information could be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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